The post was shared to the subreddit r/Mommit, with the subject line, “My son’s teacher called to tell me that she’s ready to give up on him?” It read:
“My son is in 2nd grade. He’s 7. His teacher told me that his progress is slow and not on par with his peers. She says he struggles with his work, and he doesn’t complete his work. She wants to place him in special education.”
The post continued, “I refuse to put him in special ed because I don’t think that’s necessary for him, and I do think he’s capable of doing better. I know that his Dad helps him with his homework every day. However, his Dad, a lot of times, does it for him instead of helping him. His Dad has also said that he struggles with his homework, and a lot of times, he loses his patience and just gives him the answers.”
The mom concluded, “His 1st-grade teacher would say the same thing, that his progress is very slow. However, they say that he listens well and he behaves well. I’m trying to figure out options on how I can help him catch on to his work.”
‘That’s not giving up on him. It’s the opposite.’
Reddit users quickly weighed in, gently correcting the mom’s perception of special education.
One user asked, “Did the teacher say she was giving up on him, or did she say she wanted to have him evaluated for SPED? Placing a child in special education is not giving up on them it means that your child may need additional resources to thrive in school. There is nothing wrong with this, and addressing it early will help your son’s future teachers better prepare him for life after school!”
To this comment, another Reddit user replied, “Yes! I’m a high school teacher, and I think far too many people see SPED as a negative thing. So many students THRIVE in school with just a few extra accommodations (which teachers are trained in and are typically happy to provide!!).”
Another school official weighed in, “High school teacher here. I, too, don’t know why IEPs [Individualized Education Plans] get such a bad rap. Some kids just need different learning strategies and with so many other students to care for, it is so beneficial to have that IEP case manager telling me exactly how to best support that student. It has nothing to do with how successful a child will be. Gosh, if anything, it’s making sure they will be successful.”
Supplying the perspective of a special education student, one user shared, “As a former special ed kid… I felt shame about being in SPED when I was in school, but omg, thank GOD I was. I am dyslexic and have a visual perceptual learning disability. I got intervention in 2nd grade, and it changes the trajectory of my life. I not only graduated but ended up at a top law school and have a career that I love. Do not let the stigma of special ed stop you from pursuing an evaluation or accommodations for your kiddo. SPED kids might learn differently, but that doesn’t mean they don’t learn. Let your child get the support they need.”
Another teacher shared, “I’m an elementary teacher. Recommending a student to be evaluated for SpEd is not giving up on him. In fact, it’s the opposite. If she had given up on him, she would be doing nothing. To be evaluated, she will need to keep a record of every intervention she has tried and the outcome of each. It’s extremely time consuming, and it’s hard work.”
One Reddit user replied, “She’s recommending him for services because she realizes that she can’t do it alone. He needs more than she can offer alone. Please don’t deny your child the help or services he needs just because you’re afraid of a diagnosis or a label. It sounds like he needs some help, and you should do your best to work with the school to provide him with what he needs.”
A medical professional weighed in, “Yup, I’m a therapist, and IEPs can be incredibly helpful. If the kiddo has a processing speed issue, it’s not something that’s going to go away on its own. Approach the issue with curiosity and figure out what supports will allow him to excel.”
“It sounds like your little one needs more specialized support. That’s not giving up on him. It’s the opposite. It’s giving him individualized care to help him develop to the best of his ability,” commented another Reddit user.
If you or your child’s teacher feel your child might benefit from special education, the Center for Parent Information & Resources suggests having your child evaluated by your school’s team of special education professionals.
In The Know is now available on Apple News — follow us here!
If you enjoyed this story, check out this teacher who made a 3D-printed prosthetic arm for his student struggling in class.
More from In The Know: